ko te manaaki i ngā kaihākinakina | caring for New Zealand's sports community
photo of new SCNZ CEO Phil Pawley

New CEO announced

Phil Pawley has been announced as the new SCNZ CEO. He will replace Ross Georgiou as the new SCNZ CEO from late February 2018.

Phil is currently Senior Pastor at Morrinsville Baptist Church, where he has served for the last eight years. During a 20-year stint in England, Phil was chaplain for the St Helens Rugby League Club, and also at the Rugby League World Cup and the Manchester Commonwealth Games. He is married to Diane, and they have four adult children as well as four grandchildren.

Nau mai, haere mai Phil, our new SCNZ CEO!

Please join us in praying for a smooth transition for Phil and Diane, and also for Morrinsville Baptist and SCNZ.

Read an interview with Phil Pawley.

Announcement of new SCNZ CEO

From the Chairman

To all our Chaplains, Regional Leaders, Staff and Supporters

Thank you for your prayers over the recent months as your Board set about finding a new SCNZ CEO.  In this time we followed a very thorough process and received 29 expressions of interest for the position.

The Board has unanimously agreed to the appointment of Phil Pawley.  Phil will be starting in late February 2018.

Presently, Phil is the Senior Pastor at Morrinsville Baptist Church. He has served this community for the past 8 years.  His background is in mission – but I will leave him to tell his story.

He has substantial experience as a chaplain to St Helens Rugby League Football Club (Saints) in England (10 years). He was also chaplain during one Rugby League World Cup and part of the Manchester Commonwealth Games chaplaincy team.

We believe that Phil has the experience, skills and also motivation to lead SCNZ forward to achieving the vision of serving New Zealand sports by providing pastoral care to New Zealand’s sports community. Therefore we thank God for bringing Phil to lead us in this next season of expansion of the ministry.

Please join us in welcoming Phil.  In particular, please pray for him and his wife Diane as they work through their transition into this new role.

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Martyn Norrie, Chairman, SCNZ
Email: martynnorrie@gmail.com  Phone: 021 991313

Outgoing CEO Ross Georgiou welcomes new SCNZ CEO Phil Pawley

We have 52 chaplaincy positions presently filled in New Zealand. We have trained over 120 people, and they are using their training in various capacities both here and overseas. As a result, we estimate that 5400 people are benefiting from the pastoral care ministry of Sports Chaplaincy NZ. Thank you for being part of our journey. Thank God for His blessing and leading.

New Zealand’s sports community is vast. 74% of adults participate in weekly sports and recreation activities, and 65% of New Zealand’s youth participate in competitive sport. There is still much more that Sports Chaplaincy can do in serving this community with grace and love. As founder, CEO and board member, I have never seen the board so devoted and engaged as in the selection of a new CEO. Over the period of 5 months we as the board have worked to find a godly servant leader with the appropriate skill set, experience, faith and vision, to lead Sports Chaplaincy NZ into this next chapter of ministry. Thank you to the board for your total devotion.

To Phil we say Welcome! Haere Mai! We are excited about you leading us into the next chapter of Sports Chaplaincy NZ. We are grateful to you and also to Diane for the life experiences that have brought you to this point and that have prepared you for the future of Sports Chaplaincy NZ. Thank you for answering the call.

I close by joining with Martyn in requesting that you especially pray for Phil and Diane to quickly become familiar and at home with Sports Chaplaincy NZ. I also ask you to pray for the greater Sports Chaplaincy community as we together, trust God for our future.

In His care,


Introduction from new SCNZ CEO

I feel deeply humbled by the trust placed in me to lead Sports Chaplaincy NZ into the next chapter of life and mission in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I have long seen chaplaincy as a unique way to transform our nation from the inside out. Our nation is one of the most sports oriented nations on earth. There are way more people gathering for sport on Sunday than attend church. If we are to see God’s kingdom come and his will done in our land, it must happen where people naturally gather. Therefore the chaplain is often best placed to help this happen.


Ministry experience in St Helens

The story of my ministry stretches from New Zealand to England and back again. After serving God in Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for 8 years here we moved to St Helens, England, with our 4 young children in 1990 to attend a YWAM church planting course. We had intended to return home within a year to pastor a Baptist church in Hamilton but God had other ideas!

We spent several more years with YWAM St Helens before my appointment as Missioner to the Church of England diocese of Liverpool in 1997. That change heralded the beginning of an amazing journey of learning and of serving leaders and their churches in creative mission and fresh expressions of church.

In 1999 I was asked by a Christian rugby league player to help him establish a chaplaincy at his Super League club, St Helens RLFC (SAINTS). The diocese agreed to allow me half a day per week to become SAINTS inaugural chaplain. It took time to make relationships and build trust, but in time I was asked by the coach to be part of his back room staff. Player interest in faith grew which led to me starting a small house church for players wanting to learn more. For some, that group became their church. For others it was a simply a safe place to explore Christianity.


Return to New Zealand

When I left SAINTS in July 2009 to return to New Zealand, I had no idea if I would ever be a chaplain again. I had spent 10 years building trust and earning the creditability that allowed me to pastor some of the hardest men in the nation. Having taken so long to build that level of trust, I was surprised when God clearly called my wife, Diane, and me to give up our ministry in England and to return to New Zealand for me to become senior pastor to Morrinsville Baptist.

My new role consumed every ounce of my time and energy, but my experience with SAINTS had a profound effect on me and had birthed a deep desire to see the essence of church happening where people gather rather expecting them to come to us. This has permeated my message and ministry over the last 8 years as pastor to Morrinsville Baptist. We are called to go to the people around us and love them with the love of Jesus, not to wait for them to come to us. This is the heart of the chaplain, and this is my heart.

I am delighted that God has opened this wide door of opportunity. I look forward to my new role in SCNZ with great excitement and expectation. From personal experience I know just how important Sports Chaplaincy is for the wellbeing of those associated with sport. Therefore it is my great privilege to be part of the group of people who bring that service to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou.

Phil Pawley

Author Info

Rebecca Hawkins

Rebecca is the Communications and IT Manager for Sports Chaplaincy NZ. In her younger days she played cricket and football with great enthusiasm but very little skill. Now she spends a lot of time supporting her four sons in their sport. She especially loves scoring their cricket matches, which she insists on doing the old fashioned way, with pen and paper.

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